Customer Reviews for

The Returned

Average Rating 3.5
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(29)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

26 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

Most of us have felt the incredible pain of loss. Wishing, dream

Most of us have felt the incredible pain of loss. Wishing, dreaming, begging for just one more day, hour or minute with our loved one. Mott poses such a scenario in The Returned. Would such a reunion soothe our pain? Assuage our guilt? Curb our loneliness? Or would we j...
Most of us have felt the incredible pain of loss. Wishing, dreaming, begging for just one more day, hour or minute with our loved one. Mott poses such a scenario in The Returned. Would such a reunion soothe our pain? Assuage our guilt? Curb our loneliness? Or would we just like to keep it all in the past, carefully covered up?

So, one day people start coming back from the dead. Not coming back zombie-style, mind you, they are completely intact and relatively normal. They try to go to work, go home, see their families, all parts of their normal routine, except...they have been dead. Naturally, their family, friends and co-workers faint, scream, cry and generally freak-out upon seeing them.

But, theoretically, this would be amazing, right? You could see your long-lost loved ones again. Sometimes many years after their passing, some just months later. No more moving on, no more sorrow, a wonderful miracle, theoretically...

In reality, it's weird and people feel uneasy around the returned. They just don't know what to make of them or what to believe. In a spiritual sense, this goes against everything anyone has ever known. Are the returned sent by God or the devil? How can you pick right back up again with your loved one when they have been gone for so long or when you have just picked up the pieces and started over? Loss is a part of life and as devastating as it is, we do have the capacity to keep living. What if that were turned upside down?

Practically, the returned present another problem. What are we going to do with all of these new people? Some are lucky enough to be reunited with their families, but some have no family or friends left in the world. They are scared and alone. However, towns can't support them, the economy can't support them. We don't have the space or the food supply for everyone who has ever died to come back to Earth.

The already-living face these emotional and practical problems in a variety of ways ranging from acceptance to anger. The governments of the world (and the U.S. in particular) take matters into their own hands to handle the problem of the returned.

The Returned is a breathtaking novel that poses interesting questions. Mott's style reminded me of a poetic Stephen King. One of the things I love about King's writing is his ability to get inside the heads of even his most minor characters in such a way that immerses the reader even further into the story. Jason Mott has this talent as well. The Returned is told from multiple POV's and I felt attached to each of his characters. The arc of The Returned was perfect, with small details being presented in the beginning, then leading to a huge climax and a well wrapped-up ending that leaves you thinking. The Returned will definitely be one of the most talked about books of the year, if not for some time to come.

posted by KimballSK on August 28, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

The whole idea of something like this happening is profound and

The whole idea of something like this happening is profound and an intriguing idea for a novel. You could think about the repercussions of this scenario all day and probably still have more thinking to do the next. I've heard hype about this book for a couple of month...
The whole idea of something like this happening is profound and an intriguing idea for a novel. You could think about the repercussions of this scenario all day and probably still have more thinking to do the next. I've heard hype about this book for a couple of months and expected a lot - maybe I expected too much, but I was left feeling a little cheated.

Don't get me wrong, I liked The Returned. If the world had more people like Harold and Lucille Hargrave, it would be a better place. They were just good people all the way to their core and even after being thrust into a surreal situation, with chaos all around, their actions were admirable and courageous and most likely how we all hope we'd behave under the same set of circumstances.

I couldn't help liking Agent Martin Bellamy, either. Many books I've read portray government agents as cold and heartless, only carrying out orders. That wasn't the case with Bellamy - he was helpful, sympathetic, empathetic, and compassionate. However, despite my instant connection to these three memorable characters, I never felt the same connection to Jacob. Certainly, as a parent, I understood Lucille and Harold's need to protect him, but to me, his character development was lacking.

I was hoping for answers to critical questions and some form of resolution by the end of the book, but that didn't happen. The whole situation is one of fantasy, so maybe the author wanted to leave it up to the reader to decide the logistics of how, why, where, etc.

The writing was masterful (I loved the banter between Harold and Lucille) and the author was very able to portray the emotions of the characters. Although the pacing lagged a little in the middle, I was still anxious to see what happened.

The Returned is definitely worth reading and I predict it will be the selection of many book clubs in the next year and the subject of many heated debates. Just don't expect all the issues to be resolved at the end.

I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

posted by tpolen on August 28, 2013

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  • Posted August 28, 2013

    The whole idea of something like this happening is profound and

    The whole idea of something like this happening is profound and an intriguing idea for a novel. You could think about the repercussions of this scenario all day and probably still have more thinking to do the next. I've heard hype about this book for a couple of months and expected a lot - maybe I expected too much, but I was left feeling a little cheated.

    Don't get me wrong, I liked The Returned. If the world had more people like Harold and Lucille Hargrave, it would be a better place. They were just good people all the way to their core and even after being thrust into a surreal situation, with chaos all around, their actions were admirable and courageous and most likely how we all hope we'd behave under the same set of circumstances.

    I couldn't help liking Agent Martin Bellamy, either. Many books I've read portray government agents as cold and heartless, only carrying out orders. That wasn't the case with Bellamy - he was helpful, sympathetic, empathetic, and compassionate. However, despite my instant connection to these three memorable characters, I never felt the same connection to Jacob. Certainly, as a parent, I understood Lucille and Harold's need to protect him, but to me, his character development was lacking.

    I was hoping for answers to critical questions and some form of resolution by the end of the book, but that didn't happen. The whole situation is one of fantasy, so maybe the author wanted to leave it up to the reader to decide the logistics of how, why, where, etc.

    The writing was masterful (I loved the banter between Harold and Lucille) and the author was very able to portray the emotions of the characters. Although the pacing lagged a little in the middle, I was still anxious to see what happened.

    The Returned is definitely worth reading and I predict it will be the selection of many book clubs in the next year and the subject of many heated debates. Just don't expect all the issues to be resolved at the end.

    I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2013

    While there are things about the writing and characterization th

    While there are things about the writing and characterization that I LOVE about this novel, as a whole, I think I'm left feeling a bit disappointed. The imagery, the musical fluidity of the sentence structure, the quality of relationships and emotions are all wonderfully done. The overall plot and substructure of the story didn't work for me, though. I need a premise like this one to provide a greater context--what is truly happening and WHY? I was left with more questions than answers at the end, which is why I rate it a three.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2014

    I am saving it to read at a later time when old man winter sets

    I am saving it to read at a later time when old man winter sets in.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I just finished this book and am still left wondering.The concep

    I just finished this book and am still left wondering.The concept was good but I am left feeling a tad bit confused.

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  • Posted July 10, 2014

    It wasn't a horrible book but it keeps you going to find out wha

    It wasn't a horrible book but it keeps you going to find out what happens at the end. Its a different kind of
    book and I usually don't ;buy these kind. I would of still purchased and read it. 

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  • Posted February 23, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I love The Returned tv show. Can't wait to read this book!

    I love The Returned tv show. Can't wait to read this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2014

    Oh i dont know

    Oh this book is confusing and fastanating at the same time

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    The Returned

    Although the idea had much promise! During reading and for the ending...meh.
    However, three stars because I found myself highlighting quite a few of the phrases he used because they were either so well written or so completely applicable to my own life.

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  • Posted December 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I want to thank Harlequin for sending me this book to read and g

    I want to thank Harlequin for sending me this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way influenced my opinion or review.




    I will be honest and say I only had an inkling of what this book was about when I picked it up to read it. I am really a true YA fan and don't often read things outside that genre. But the publisher had told me this was a great read, so I opened it up while I was on vacation and I was pleasantly surprised!




    Blurb from Goodreads:
    Jacob was time out of sync, time more perfect than it had been. He was life the way it was supposed to be all those years ago. That's what all the Returned were.
    Harold and Lucille Hargrave's lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time ... Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.
    All over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he's their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.
    With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, award-winning poet Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction.




    I must start by saying that the cover of this book would have drawn me in no matter where I had gotten it from. I love the color scheme for sure. And the way the cover designer chose to have the little boy upside down is an interesting choice for the theme of this book.




    The book is told from third person point of view. Between each chapter is an excerpt taken from one of the Returned's lives after they have come back. An interesting concept: people who have died start to suddenly reappear with no explanation. While the thought of being able to talk to those who have died and getting some closure would be something that many of would like to do, I don't think we have in mind the consequences such actions would bring. How it would turn the world upside down. How things happen for a reason and to alter them could change the course of our lives in ways we are unprepared to face.




    Most of the story centers around Harold and Lucille, an older couple who lost their 8 year old son many years ago. So, when he turns up on the doorstep one day with a man from the FBI, they are not sure what to think. Should they take him in and love him and pretend as if nothing happened. Should they refuse to keep him because he seems to be something less than human. It's a fine line. And the gentleman from the FBI, he's not sure what to make of things. And he has a secret of his own he's not willing to share outright which affects how he feels about the entire scenario of people coming back from the sea. While they want with all their hearts to believe their son has come back from the dead, they are torn by the fact that he is just not the same little boy they once knew. With each Returned we are introduced to, we can see that something is a bit off, they are not quite human. They are more quite, more reserved, and often unsure.




    The story reminds me of how we would react if a foreign species, such as an alien race, were to suddenly arrive on earth. There would be people who wanted for the species to integrate, to be part of our society so that we could learn from them. Then there would be those who would be too scared to have this foreign race within our society, wanting to lock them up and keep them away from everyone. There is a certain societal rift that we see in this book that is indicative of human nature. The book focuses much of it's story on the societal reactions to the returned and how they are dealt with.




    I have to say that I really enjoyed Mott's writing. For a debut novel this book is extremely well written. The story moved along at a good pace, although it was a little slow for my taste. He had nice descriptions of the characters and their situations. His writing is real and raw, honest and simple. 




    I did want to know more about the returned: why were they coming back and how? what did they want or need? But we don't find any of this information out. It all remains a big mystery. Somehow I do understand that this was certainly a part of the story: keeping the reader in the dark a bit (as the characters were in the dark) because there really was no plausible explanation for it all.




    The story pulled on my emotions for sure, but just didn't have the kick I was really looking for to keep me completely interested and not wanting to put it down. The story is an interesting one, as is the concept, but the execution was a bit lacking for me. This book is a great crossover for both adults and teens. I think any number of people can enjoy it.




    3/5 fist pumps

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  • Posted September 20, 2013

    Reminiscent of The 4400

    I enjoyed the stories that were in the book and the question of what if... But the ending was disappointing. Without giving away anything to my fellow reviewers; I wanted some closure and there wasn't any. it was very reminiscent of the TV show The 4400, but I was waiting for the big reveal and there wasn't any.

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  • Posted September 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    What a great premise for a novel! I was excited to read The Retu

    What a great premise for a novel! I was excited to read The Returned. The writing was good and held my interest. It was fascinating to see how different people reacted to the phenomena, to consider how the government would intervene, and I wondered what would happen next.

    However, between the Hargraves and Pastor Peters, the author almost seems to be mocking the South (especially Christians in the South). I believe the intent was character development, but the execution felt unnatural, stereotypical, and at times, completely over the top and borderline rude. It was like I was catching a glimpse of the author's own hangups, rather than gaining a better understanding of the characters.

    Also, without spoiling any details, there were some ideas that were stated but didn't develop, which could have enriched the sci-fi elements of the premise. This fall, ABC will be airing a series called Resurrection, which is based on this book and has an amazing cast. Yep, this book which hasn't even been released yet already has a TV series. I'm hoping ABC will give us more of the sci-fi aspects.

    So, I was left with mixed feelings about The Returned. I liked it. For the most part, I enjoyed the  book as I was reading. But I wasn't left feeling satisfied at the end, and I never felt especially connected to the characters. I think I may be looking forward to the television series more...

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2013

    What if?.......... Jason Mott weaves a tale about people who ha

    What if?..........

    Jason Mott weaves a tale about people who have died suddenly returning in the flesh. The idea is a good one but it is told in a confusing manner. Mott is a good writer but all the way through I was wondering about things that never were explained in the end. I felt as if I was reading only part of the story. I enjoy reading stories that don't rely on bad language and for the most part this story was like that. Then, after 250 pages, one of the characters lets the 'f' word fly several times. It doesn't add anything to the story. The two main characters are interesting but most of the others are not really developed. The ending was a bit disappointing and I felt as if the story just stopped suddenly and was never finished.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2013

    A bit unsatisfying

    Most of the book is about how the people who returned are imprisoned. I wish there had been more about who they were and what they and their loved ones did when they were back. No explaination is given why they return.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 4, 2014

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    Posted September 26, 2013

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    Posted January 13, 2015

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

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